Remember family dinners at Grandma’s house? The tantalizing scents wafting out from the kitchen would draw everyone in to gather at the table to savor her home cooking. There was always an abundance of leftovers for future meals or late-night snacks.
However, healthy eating for the elderly may be inconsistent. The day-to-day reality may be that seniors are facing one of a number of obstacles to good nutrition, including:
- Not wanting to bother with planning and preparing a nutritious meal for just one or two people
- Health issues that make it challenging to tend to the tasks of grocery shopping and cooking
- Medication side effects that impact appetite or how food tastes
- Decreased taste and/or smell
Overcoming the Hurdles to Good Senior Nutrition
For seniors facing the difficulties above, or any others, these guidelines will help.
- If loneliness during mealtime is a problem, older adults can network with friends for potluck dinners, testing new recipes together, or going out for meals. Additional options include congregate meals at senior centers, Meals On Wheels, or a companion from Anthem Home Care.
- Grocery shopping and preparing meals may be challenging. There are a number of companies that now offer wholesome, ready-made meals delivered straight to your home. Grocery delivery service or curbside pickup can also be a great option for seniors. A caregiver from Anthem Home Care is also here to pick up groceries, prepare meals, and tidy up the kitchen afterwards.
- Lack of taste or smell may make foods unappealing, but adding herbs and spices to recipes can certainly help. Make certain to limit salt, however. Try bright-colored vegetables and fruits in a variety of textures for visual and textural appeal.
- Review medications with the prescribing doctor to find out if there are alternative treatment options that won’t affect the older adult’s appetite.
Simple Steps to Better Senior Nutrition
These tips can help ensure older adults are on the right track to a healthier diet.
- Select foods that are full of nutrients but lower in calories, like vegetables and fruits, whole grains, seafood and lean meats, beans, nuts, seeds, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
- Skip (or at least limit) the amount of empty calorie foods, such as cookies and other baked goods, chips, candy, soda, and alcohol.
- Stay hydrated. Many seniors lose the feeling of thirst when they get older, so it’s crucial to drink sufficient water during the day, whether feeling thirsty or not.
- Physical activity will help boost appetite. Talk with the doctor for a recommended exercise plan.
For more helpful resources pertaining to enhancing healthy eating for the elderly, and for hands-on assistance with eliminating the challenges being faced, contact one of the most trusted Corpus Christi home health agencies, Anthem Home Care, at 361-643-2323. For a full list of all of the communities where we provide care, visit our Service Area page.